Telemedicine Startup Maven Clinic’s Marketing Plan Shifts From B2B To B2C, Due To The Pandemic

Julie Binder left New York City last month for an Airbnb upstate, where she and her husband can get outside and wring excess energy from their two kids.

But she doesn’t just have her own family to think about. Binder is VP of marketing for Maven Clinic, a telemedicine startup focused on pregnancy and women’s health. Right now, the coronavirus is upending the medical industry, and throwing many pregnant women and worried families into fear and confusion.

Maven’s priority going into the year was its B2B business – working directly with HR departments to make pregnancy, women’s health and telemedicine part of their health and benefits coverage. Now, with so many women calling out for guidance and unable to reach their OBGYNs (some have been called to emergency room duties, others are concerned about taking appointments in their normal hospitals), telemedicine is being called up to the big leagues.

AdExchanger caught with up Binder on how her job and day-to-day work have changed, and how Maven is reshaping its business to meet the needs of pregnant women and families at a moment of radical change for the healthcare industry.

[Disclosure: This reporter is married to Maven’s director of data].

AdExchanger: How has your job changed in the past few weeks?

JULIE BINDER: We started the first quarter very focused on how we get in front of HR (human resource) buyers and how they think of women’s health as a part of their overall healthcare and benefits. What a shift it’s been.

The pandemic has made many people more interested in telemedicine, of course, since it raises tremendous challenges for families and women who are pregnant, or going through depression or postpartum. The gap in care for services has become the focus of many people’s attention.

So rather than focusing on our traditional B2B, the pandemic has caused us to say, “What can we do in response?”

So now we’re broadly marketing to consumers and offering free appointments through our platform. That’s a significant shift from HR buyers being top of mind to broadly looking at families in crisis situations, like changing where they plan to give birth, whether or not to go to a hospital (many are overrun with virus cases), if their partner will be in the delivery room or whether their OBGYN still has standing appointments.

B2B and B2C marketing are very different. How do you make that transition on the fly?

Even within our B2B and consumer operations, the needs of our members (Maven’s term for individuals on the platform) are changing so much week to week. So it’s not a wholesale shift, so much as looking at the market and our data, and saying how can we meet those needs today?

We’ve always had a consumer-facing offering. But it was there more as a resource for members, and not something we put serious marketing resources behind. We have 1,800 care providers in our telemedicine network, and in the past month or so we have 6x the number of clients booking appointments from where we were going into COVID.

Are marketing budgets up?

Yes. And we definitely made some significant mix shifts. Like many in the space we rely heavily on events. Many of those are canceled or rescheduled, so we can repurpose that. We’ve increased budgets on paid social, since that’s where the eyeballs are.

We also had a campaign in market that was more like a brand anthem raising awareness with consumers. But when it became clear that COVID-19 was not business as usual, we halted that campaign. It’s an incredible marketing piece that we can use over the long term, but it’s not right for this moment. All people are interested in talking about and learning about is COVID-specific.

Seems like Maven raised money at the right time (a $45 million round in February).

True. And we are fortunate in many ways. Though we are also an industry in a transformational moment. On the other side of this pandemic, people will think of telemedicine as normal.

Only one in 10 Americans has tried telemedicine. I think they don’t know what they’re missing. It’s like when we all took cabs, and the idea of getting in a stranger’s car was scary. That magical moment of delight when you first took a Lyft or Uber, people are having that realization about telemedicine now, since they’re being forced in many cases to try it.

How has the content production changed?

That’s been the biggest factor. It’s a huge amount of content. We’ve started doing weekly webinars with our medical director and reproductive endocrinologist.

We’re also bringing in one of our providers for rotating talks specifically about topics and concerns we’re hearing from members. We had a midwife on to discuss birth strategies. We’re seeing a huge spike in mental health appointments, a 5x increase by women who are pregnant, so our next session will be a mental health specialist. Our social team does an Instagram Live featuring different care providers. And we’re putting out FAQs for our core use cases.

What data or numbers do you look at these days?

A lot about total audience and how we are growing the total audience for Maven. That’s a shift for me, because a couple of months ago I was in a targeted B2B mindset and now I want as many people as possible to know about Maven and have the opportunity to be connected to care.

Another is lead data. Where are people coming from when they come to our platforms? That’s important for understanding where our members spend their time and where they go when they have these sorts of questions.

How do you think about the funnel for the consumer-facing business, since that is growing so much right now?

It’s something we’ve just started to build some rigor around. Our immediate reaction was to make sure we’re getting the offers out there to connect with care. And the consumer business is part of the same vision. The more women and families who engage with our platform, the more important it will be to have these services covered as part of employer health and benefits plans.

I don’t know what the next month will look like. Our marketing campaign is based on our mission and the needs of the moment. We’re trying to connect with women and families who are concerned about their situation or can’t reach their OBGYN. That’s why people work here and why this company exists.

That will be the focus for the foreseeable future, for whatever that’s worth.

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